Facebook Oversight Board Overturns Four of Company's Five Rulings

Facebook's independent board of 20 journalists, politicians and judges handed down its first batch of rulings, according to a report.
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Facebook's  (FB) - Get Report newly formed Oversight Board issued its first round of rulings, overturning several decisions the company made to remove posts for violating hate speech, violence and other rules on the platform. 

The board, which is made up of 20 journalists, politicians and judges, overturned the company's decision in four of the five cases that were considered, NBC News reported. The board is scheduled to make a high profile ruling in the coming weeks on whether to overturn Facebook's decision to suspend former President Donald Trump's account following the Jan. 6 political riots in Washington D.C..

In the first case it ruled on, Facebook removed a post from a user in Myanmar who disparaged Muslims as being mentally inferior. Facebook originally said the post violated its rules, but the board said that the terms used in the post "were not derogatory or violent," NBC reported. 

The second case involved a user posting a term to describe Azerbaijanis that Facebook claimed was a slur. The board agreed, ruling that "the context in which the term was used makes clear it was meant to dehumanhize its target."

A third case involved a user in Brazil posting five photographs showing women's nipples on Instagram as part of a breast cancer awareness campaign. Facebook removed the post based on its rules on nudity, but the board said the post was fine due to Facebook's own policy exception for "breast cancer awareness."

The fourth case involved a user who quoted Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, who is on Facebook's list of "dangerous individuals." Facebook's policy states that quotes attributable to "dangerous individuals" are a tacit expression of support for their ideology. 

The board disagreed with the removal of the post, saying it "did not support the Nazi party's ideology or the regime's acts of hate and violence."

The final case involved Facebook's removal of a post from a user in France that falsely claimed that a cure for COVID-19 was available and that the government was withholding the medicine.

The board ruled that the user was "opposing a governmental policy and aimed to change that policy," and that the post would not lead people to self-medicate as Facebook claimed when it removed the post. 

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